My earliest memory of the mountains of western North Carolina is a family road trip, as a young boy, to Cherokee, Ghost Town and Tweetsie Railroad. I sat star-struck by the beauty of the mountains as we made our way up from central North Carolina. The mountains imprinted on me at an early age — the exhilarating feeling of standing in a cold, clear stream; the spectacular views from the Blue Ridge Parkway; and that mountain air…so clean and pure.
I started coming to Pisgah regularly in 1990 when I took up mountain biking. Our group would load up the bikes, leave Charlotte before sunrise and spend all day exploring the classic trails of Pisgah, Black Mountain, Buckwheat Knob, Squirrel Gap, Pink Beds, etc. We’d drive back home exhilarated and exhausted, knowing that this place held our hearts and minds. We couldn't wait to come back — and would plan out our next excursion before we ever got home.
I taught both my sons fly-fishing on the Davidson, took them to the base of Looking Glass Rock to watch the climbers, and camped in the forest as many times as I could get away from the city. In 2011, while I was training for the Pisgah Mountain Bike Stage Race, my wife Tracey and I would come to the Pisgah Ranger District for training rides. On one of our rides, we discovered a little rock house on a beautiful plot of land with a wild trout stream running through it — a special place we now call home. Living in the forest, we feel it is our profound duty to preserve this land for future generations to enjoy.